Der Kontrabaß

The double bass is a one-act play from 1981 by Patrick Süskind. He was in the playing season 1984/85 with over 500 performances, the most played piece on the German stage. In 1981, the enigmatic and witty one- man play with Nicholas Paryla was first performed in the lead role in the Munich Cuvilliéstheater and taken immediately impressed by the audience. The theater technically low-maintenance drama ran in the following decades in almost all theaters in Germany with sensational success.


The piece consists of the monologue of an aging double bass ( " a man in his mid thirties, namely I " ), the audience holds, a member of a State Orchestra, the hermetically sealed off in his sound-proof music room from the outside world with an emphatic speech about the merits of his instrument. His initial eulogies on the double bass, however, soon always contradictory and finally beat into its opposite: The double bass player turns out to be bitter, lonely, introverted homebody, a moderately talented musician who loathes his instrument and his profession from the depths of the soul, a nameless ( only "third panel ," a " Tutti - Pig" ), Mozart and Wagner hate and revenge in the concert also like embezzles a few of her notes. Conductors he considers overrated, yes superfluous. With plenty of beer he tried to fight after every performance against his alleged loss of moisture and orchestra frustration.

He focused His only positive feelings, not without a certain lasciviousness, almost manic on the young soprano Sarah. Since he has them but never dared to speak, flowers his enthusiastic admiration for years in secret. When she is on stage, he plays though - as far as it is possible on his bass - always particularly error- free, beautiful and devoted. However, noticed him and his efforts " of course not ".

Perhaps you could change today evening: While he bears his everyday clothes and moves for the imminent Rheingold Festival premiere under Carlo Maria Giulini, he wonders of what happens when this time directly in front of the use of the orchestra the name " Sarah! " according to inside were calling into the hall. Whether it will do so remains unclear. He says goodbye, turns off the light and goes to the service.

Music examples in the " bass "

For elucidation of his remarks the bassist are some examples from the musical literature in recordings. These are:

  • Symphony No. 2 ( Brahms )
  • Richard Wagner: Prelude to The Valkyrie
  • Carl Ditter von Dittersdorf: Double Bass Concerto No. 2 in E major
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: "È amore un ladroncello " Aria of Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Act 2, Sz 10
  • Franz Schubert: Piano Quintet in A major D. 667

Radio play version

  • Recording of the WDR with Walter Schmid Inger, 1981, The HÖR Verlag, DHV (1995 ), ISBN 978-3-89584-129-3

Secondary literature

  • Volker Krischel: Patrick Süskind: The double bass. King notes and materials # 414 C. Bange, Hollfeld 2002. ISBN 978-3-8044-1778-6 ( with further references therein)

Novel Perfume

Short Stories The Dove | The Story of Mr. Sommer

Short stories and essays Three stories | About Love and Death

Drama The double bass

Screenplays I Do not Know | Monaco Franze - Der ewige Stenz | Kir Royal ( TV series) | Rossini - or the murderous question of who slept with whom | About the Looking for and the Finding of Love

  • Patrick Süskind
  • Drama
  • Literary work
  • Literature ( 20th century)
  • Literature ( German )